Maud Noble Cabin (Landscapes of Loss)

#1: Front Door


Maud Noble Cabin: Front Door


This cabin was built in 1916, originally on the east side of Cottonwood Creek by Harry Clissold for Maud Noble. Maud had first come to Jackson Hole in 1915, staying at the Bar BC as a dude for the summer. She came from a wealthy family in Philadelphia and was believed to have been 45 to 50 years old when she first arrived to the valley. Like so many before and after her, she decided to stay and reside permanently in the valley. This small three-room home was the ideal size for a single woman. In 1918 Maud had Clissold move the cabin to its current location just south of the buildings at Menor’s Ferry in Moose. The three rooms were converted to serve as two bedrooms and a central living area. The kitchen was removed from the house because Maud took all her meals up at Bill Menor’s house. In this same year she purchased the ferry from Menor and took over operations. She raised the ferry prices to $1.00 for Wyoming residents and $2.00 for anyone else.

Maud lived in this house with a man named Sydney Frederick Sandell. He occupied the second bedroom that was converted from a kitchen. Their partnership was a source of gossip throughout the valley. Maud never did anything to confirm or deny a relationship with Sandell and their story remains a mystery today. Sandell was believed to have a wife “back home.” It was impolite to discuss single men and woman residing in the same home together so Sandell is often left out of Maud’s story. Maud and Frederick continued to live together, however, even after Maud sold the property to the Snake River Land Company in 1929. They purchased a second ranch near Wilson where their living arrangements there are unknown. They both parted ways in 1943 when Maud returned home to Philadelphia to be with family.


#2: North elevation


Maud Noble Cabin: North Elevation


These two windows frame the fireplace for the central living area in the cabin. This room was the site for a very important meeting that occurred on July 23rd, 1923 when Richard Winger, J.R. Jones, J.L. Eynon, Struthers Burt, Horace Carncross, Joe Joffe and Horace Albright gathered around the fire to discuss the future of the Jackson Hole valley. At this time, dude ranching was in its “golden years” as proclaimed by Struthers Burt of the Bar BC Dude Ranch. He and his partner, Horace Carncross had opened the ranch in 1912 as the second dude ranch in the valley. Concerned about the rampant and continuously expanding development, these men were beginning to be concerned about what might happen to the natural landscape if development was left unchecked.

Maud’s role at the meeting is not really known. Some men recall her being there and serving them tea and others don’t remember a woman being present at all. Holding the meeting at her home was no accident – it was considered a good middle ground for those present. Some contend that the participants were worried what might happen if word of the meeting got out so the decision was made to meet outside of town. The meeting was a simple one; no mention of a Yellowstone expansion or any other National Park Service presence in the valley was on the table. They were merely meeting to discuss what might be done to stop some of the less than picturesque commercial development. They decided the only way to do this was to contact their wealthy friends and connections back east in order to purchase the necessary lands for preservation. There was little to no mention of a governing power – however, Albright privately thought that the NPS was the only option. Much is made of this meeting as the first time that Jackson Hole residents turned to federally preserved and regulated lands but this was not mentioned, or even wanted by the locals present. What they did want was to prevent outsiders from buying up the lands from poorer homesteaders looking to leave the valley and to prevent commercial developments of those same holdings.


#3: North-west corner


Maud Noble House: North-West Corner


Maud Noble left her property 1929 when the Snake River Land Company purchased it and the building continued to plat an active role in the Moose community. Several families lived in the cabin after this point. Jim and Viola Budge retrofitted a kitchen into Maud’s bedroom and the open porch and the south of her bedroom was closed for use as a chicken coop. Bob and Fran Carmichael live in the house for a short period of time – they are known for running the Moose Post Office and general store as well as a tackle shop. The house continued to have several short-term residents and an addition was added to the southeast corner of siding meant to look like logs.

Josephine Fabian, the wife of Harold Fabian, who was John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s lawyer for the Snake River Land Company, opened a tea house in the cabin. This was called the Ferry Tea Room and they served light snacks to travelers until 1951. The Fabians also oversaw the rehabilitation of the old ferry and restored much of the Maud Noble cabin to its earlier appearance. The cabin went on to serve as NPS employee housing and was later converted into an interpretive structure, a service it continues today. The porch is now enclosed and the addition with its modern log-siding is still present on the back, but the main cabin still retains much of its original historic character.


From our Archives:




Maud Noble cabin in snow.


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